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Tarren Bragdon

Playing Defense Without Being Defensive

This time last year, my biggest pet peeve was that every story about a progressive victory inevitably included a quote from Tarren Bragdon of the Maine Heritage Policy Center. In those days, I often ranted about how "fair and balanced" reporting was giving Bragdon a free press hit every time we scored a win. (This is a great example of a Bragdon freebie from the not-so-good ol' days).

A year later, I wish I had such a pleasant gripe.

With Bragdon now ensconced in the new administration, there are many more things to complain about. Defense will be our top priority for the next two years, as evidenced by the list of bill titles put in for this session. Even our best work won’t be able to fend off all of the ugliness in this listRead more »

The Past and Future of Maine's Anti-Poverty Efforts

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it can not save the few who are rich."

Fifty years ago today, President John F. Kennedy spoke those words in his inaugural address.

Understanding the moral and economic value to us all in lifting people out of poverty, some of the nation's and Maine's greatest achievements in public policy have been in fighting poverty: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Maine Equal Justice does an excellent job of explaining the programs where the state has a major role to play.

It should be no surprise that – because the programs are designed that way – use of income supports and medical assistance by Maine families has increased since the global economic collapse 2 years ago. And directly or indirectly, we all benefit when our neighbors have the resources to participate in the economy and when they have access to treatment that prevents illness. Read more »

MSEA: Open Government Website "Despicable"

The Maine State Employee's Association has weighed in on MHPC's new website, calling it "underhanded" and "despicable".

I'm trying to figure out the benefits to be gained from this denunciation. The state isn't likely to change its freedom of access laws and this rhetoric just raises the profile of the website. My guess is the MSEA wants to appear to its membership as if it is standing up for them and their privacy.

I'll admit I'm a little biased on the issue. My salary and benefits for the past two years have been publicly available, printed in the local paper and debated in public meetings. I don't see what the big deal is.

Two last points: as a commenter noted in the last post, despite standing as champions of transparency, MPHC is reluctant to reveal their own expenditures and funding sources. Second, what kind of tracking software are they using that was slowing down their site so much that they could only record "several thousand" hits? That's just weird.